Friday, March 27, 2009

A Last Word on "Street Russian"

In Russia, nice people don't use "street Russian" or the sort of vulgar slang that is so common, while they are sober. Language expresses national character and not the other way around. In Russian, there is no exact translation for "to make love" because polite people don't discuss it. Even lyuboday or lyubodaystvo which mean love-maker or love-making are lewd and are not used in polite company.

So how is the point discussed from a practical perspective? It really isn't, until the Stolichnaya is poured and the discussion deteriorates from the impossibly polite to the practical. Russia has long led the rest of the world in axe murders and chess masters and perhaps the reason for this has to do with the lack of a polite way to express topics that remain on their minds. The word yeblia is plastered on the subway walls and public toilets in Russia. Is that the missing word in Russian that defines love making?

There is no word in polite Russian for oral sex. If you want to refer to this act politely, you would say, frantsu-zkaya luybov (French love), which implies that the French discovered something before the Russians (unlikely). On the streets of Moscow, the crude way to put this same act is V rote ebat' tvoyi kostyli! No translation required but it has -- something to do with crutches... you have to trust me on this.

If reading folk sayings written on the subway walls tells us anything more about Russian preferences and perhaps what is not discussed in polite society, the "crawfish position" is favored above all others. ebat' rakom/dat' rakom/stat' rakom


LL said...

One of the principal differences between Russian and English has to do with sentence structure. English is a very difficult language to master because there is a very specific way to write anything. In Russian the verb and noun placement is more or less where you want to put it and the listener must then decide what you mean.

I think this comes from the influence of Greek, which has a similar sentence structuring. Anciently it was the priests who read and wrote and many of them (Greek Orthodox Christian) did it in Greek.

I'm not a master of linguistics but try to understand not only the how, but the why.

Swanksalot said...

I realize this is an old blog post, but could you comment on Kraft's new name, which Crain's suggests is similar to the Russian word for oral sex?
The name that Kraft Foods Inc. chose for its global snack spinoff — Mondelez International — has sparked plenty of comment and snark across the country.
In Russia, though, it may trigger snickers.
Kraft says it chose the mashup to connote worldwide deliciousness. (Monde means "world" in French, and delez, with a long E in the final syllable, is a play on "delish.")
But pronounced "mohn-dah-LEEZ," the name means something else to Russian speakers, say those fluent in its language and slang. We were tipped off to double entendre by a reader who braced us with a “no offense, but this is bad” before explaining the name sounds like the Russian term for an oral sex act.

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